The Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce presents the Advocacy Newsletter. This regular email showcases issues impacting business and provides insight on key issues the Chamber is tracking at the local, state and federal level.

The Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce is a business advocate, attending every City Council meeting, standing up on key issues and sharing a pragmatic view point.

We are sharing our November 15, 2022 Edition of the State of Business with our entire membership as several local issues have direct impacts on our entire business community.
How Will Your Organization Be Affected
By A Local Minimum Wage?

The Fort Collins City Council is continuing the process of establishing a local minimum wage (LMW) that potentially impacts every employer operating within the city. 

City Council will consider, on Tuesday, November 15, three options regarding the implementation of a Local Minimum Wage.

Option 1: Goal of $19/hour
2023 – $13.65 (estimated Colorado Minimum Wage based on inflation)
2024 – $15.15
2025 – $16.90
2026 – $18.50
2027 – Plus CPI (Consumer Price Index; min. 2%, max. 5%)

Option 2: Goal of $16.65
2023 – $13.65 (estimated Colorado Minimum Wage based on inflation)
2024 – $14.65
2025 – $15.65
2026 – $16.65
2027 – Plus CPI

Option 3: Postpone Indefinitely

Tipped employees and unemancipated minors may be allowed to receive a lower wage under specific conditions (CDLE Resource), but any and all employers that have employees that work at least 4 hours per week within the city limits of Fort Collins will be required to follow this local ordinance regardless of employer type or home office location.

Nonprofit organizations, Poudre School District, Colorado State University, home-based businesses, national chains and locally owned small businesses of all variety are affected. In fact, the City itself will be impacted to the tune of $3M or more when accounting for wage compression.

Council needs to hear from you today! They need to understand the full impact of unintended consequences that will be felt by employers and employees alike.
There are far too many unanswered questions with very real consequences. Let’s go with Option 3 until we all have a better understanding of the problem we’re all trying to solve.

Talking Points
  • This decision has very real consequences to my organization that I have not yet had time to understand. Why hasn’t my voice been heard in this discussion?
  • The affects of the pandemic and stimulus response have drastically changed the relationship between me and my employees, this will create even greater divisions.
  • The State Legislature has mandated new costs and responsibilities on my organization. Implementing a local minimum wage that has not been substantiated by good data feels like I’m being punished for offering good jobs at appropriate wages for my industry.
  • My organization does not have the luxury of raising prices to account for increased personnel costs. Our contracts/grant support is locked in. [I will lose customers that are already stretched by inflation]
  • I have employees that will either need to reduce their hours or stop working all together to avoid losing public benefits that exceed the increase on their paycheck. This means I will need to find another qualified employee in a very tight labor market.
  • Minimum wage is not a substitute for a so called ‘living wage’. Employers cannot be held accountable for all the influences on the cost of living. I don’t control housing costs, I don’t control transportation costs, or where my employees live and with whom they choose to live.
  • What is the driving force behind moving this process along so quickly without talking to more than a few employers? I am an employer, but I’m also a member of this community. Let’s sit down and talk about how we can solve problems together.
New Land Development Code Adopted by City Council

We are sharing a shout out to our City Council for its recent adoption of the Land Development Code! On behalf of the many businesses and families that call Fort Collins home, we appreciate the courage and determination it takes to make decisions that pay dividends well beyond the eyesight of some of our neighbors. 

We'd also like to thank the Chamber volunteers that worked tirelessly the last 18 months to impact the Land Use Code. These volunteers shared their real-life experience to modify a code that was outdated and limited the opportunity to create housing across the spectrum of housing needs in Fort Collins. We appreciate their dedicated and thoughtful investment of time and energy to making a difference.  Team members included Angie Milewski, BHA Design; Cathy Mathis, TB Group; Jeff Schneider, Armstead Construction; Gary Floyd, Lamp Rynerson; Ian Schuff, ALM2S; Jason Sherrill, Landmark Homes; John Mosier, Landmark Homes, Kristin Fritz, Housing Catalyst; Nick Haws, Northern Engineering and Joe Rowan. You helped Build Community for all!
2023 – 2024 Municipal Budget

At its November 1 meeting, the Fort Collins City Council adopted on first reading the bi-annual budget for 2023 -2024. Net of internal and inter-governmental transfers, the City has allocated $606.3M for expenditures in 2023. This compares with $495.7M in 2019, which represents an annual increase of 4.8% excluding $28.1M in federal stimulus proceeds. Given annual population growth of 1.9% and inflationary pressure that began to manifest in 2021, this increase might appear modest.

But this also reflects an unexpected boom in retail sales tax collections from increased consumer spending on goods and services as we emerged from the pandemic. As saving accounts have begun to shrink and elevated inflation changes spending choices, the budget assumes sales tax growth of 3.5% in 2023, slowing to 2.5% in 2024. 
NoCo Housing NOW All Partnership Meeting
10:30 – 11:30 a.m. 
Friday, November 18, 2022
Virtual Presentation

Topic: The Missing Middle

Communities across the country are now beginning to recognize that suburban-style development has crowded out a more diverse mix of housing types that were commonplace prior to the 1950s. Community planning tended to emphasize uniformity within residential areas such that single-family detached housing predominated with higher density multifamily housing situated in distinctly separate neighborhoods. Duplexes, small apartment buildings, condominiums and other housing types have become all but forgotten, a phenomenon known as The Missing Middle.

Please join us as we explore strategies, market opportunities and tools for expanding our housing inventory mix that appeals to a broader cross-section of our communities.

Featured Panel:        
Landon Hoover – Hartford Homes
Terry Barnard – Colorado Housing Finance Authority
Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP)

Do you have an employee or colleague struggling with the cost of childcare? The Larimer County Human Services may be able to help. The Colorado Child Care Assistance Program, also known as C-CAP, provides financial assistance to working adults, those learning new skills and others. Through Larimer County, participants may also take advantage of supportive services and referrals to the most convenient childcare providers. A separate Larimer Child Care Fund is a complementary source of assistance for families that are not eligible for C-CAP.

For more information, visit Larimer HS or the Colorado Department of Early Childhood for more information.
City of Fort Collins Receives Economic Development Award for Community of the Year

The City of Fort Collins has received a 2022 EDIE Award from the Economic Development Council of Colorado (EDCC) for Large Community of the Year. The most recognized award in economic development in Colorado, the EDIE acknowledges outstanding achievements by its members, organizations, communities, companies, individuals and legislators for their contributions to economic development in the state.
Since 1989, the EDCC has celebrated the achievements of over 200 award winners. Awardees representing 11 different categories were announced by the EDCC during its annual Drive | Lead | Succeed in Pueblo, Colorado last week.

On November 1, Common Sense Institute (CSI) released a new study, “Adapting Colorado’s Water Systems for a 21st Century Economy and Water Supply“ in Fort Collins at an event hosted by the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado and the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce with more than 170 attending. The study is part of a year-long effort to examine the impact of factors that indicate less water in our future including climate change and increased population growth.

Though the legal framework governing water, including statutes, compacts and decrees, presents some barriers, the study explains how it also provides stability and flexibility to make needed changes.
2022 Regional Issues Summit
Presented by the Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance
Wednesday, December 14, 2022
7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Blue Bar and Grill at the Budweiser Event Center, Loveland, CO

Northern Colorado is the epicenter for vibrant economic growth. But current public policy decisions and regulatory action could have significant economic implications.
Policy decisions matters. A vibrant economy matters. You matter.

Engage and join the conversation about the policy decisions affecting you, your business, our region and our state. The Regional Issues Summit will feature keynotes and panels of high-level decision makers, experts and business leaders. More than 100 business professionals and community leaders are expected at the Regional Issues Summit.

The Regional Issues Summit is presented by the Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance, the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce, the Loveland Chamber of Commerce, the Greeley Area Chamber of Commerce and Upstate Colorado.
Thank you to the 2022 Regional Issues Summit sponsors. Gold Sponsors: Elevations Credit Union; Silver Sponsors: BizWest, Ent Credit Union and UCHealth; Bronze Sponsors: iHeart and Woodward; Event Sponsors: Canvas Credit Union, Jet Marketing, North Forty News, Northern Engineering Services, OfficeScapes and Sign-A-Rama
The Colorado Legislature passed HB22-1362 which establishes a board that will develop statewide energy and water efficiency codes for new construction and rehabilitation of existing buildings. Concurrently, the Fort Collins City Council is moving to implement more comprehensive standards within a shorter time frame in order to meet greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets by 2030.
Do you support enforceable commercial building energy standards to reduce GHG emissions?

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